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Functional blog
08 Dec 2017

Diet puts Diabetes Type 2 into Remission

A large research project has shown that Diabetes Type 2 can be put into remission using diet. How exciting as this hits the conventional world! Medical management of Diabetes type 2 has revolved around pharmaceutical drugs for many years. Whilst reducing sugar and healthy eating has always been out there, it has only ever been used as complementary to the conventional model of medical treatment of diabetes and has never been seen as being the sole treatment to the reversal of diabetes.

A £2.5 million research project led by Professor Roy Taylor at Newcastle University and Professor Mike Lean at the University of Glasgow has shown to put people with Diabetes type 2 into remission.

The Study:
The DiRECT study recruited 306 participants between the age 25 and 65 with a diagnosis of Diabetes Type 2 who were all overweight. The emphasis of the study was weight loss. Half of the participants were started on a low calorie 800 calories a day diet, made up of soups and shakes, for 8-20 weeks. The other half of the participants received the best medical diabetes Type 2 care available.

The Results:
This study is not over yet, but we are pretty excited by the results. I am thrilled that finally we have evidence that diet and weight are the key ingredients to “reversing” Type 2 Diabetes. Almost half (45.6%) of those who took part in the programme were in remission after a year. After 8 weeks on the low-calorie diet, participants had reduced the amount of fat in their liver and pancreas confirmed on scans. This helped them produce insulin again and put their Type 2 diabetes into remission. The success of this approach seems to be linked to the amount of weight people lose. Nearly 9 in 10 people who lost 15kg or more put their condition into remission. A remission of diabetes will allow the patient to stop taking anti-diabetic drugs. This is important as the drugs are inconvenient and can cause side-effects.

Functional Medicine:
In the functional world, we are learning about the overwhelming benefits of the Fasting Mimicking Diet. It involves consuming only small amounts of food for five days each month to trick the body into thinking it’s fasting, resulting in weight loss and, as scientific research recently indicated, a regenerative effect on the cells that can lead to a longer, healthier life. Research has shown this has the benefits of reversing diabetes, autoimmune disease, inflammation and cardiovascular disease.